Bar owners want to create smoking and non-smoking patios
Published Tuesday, August 18, 2015 12:27PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 18, 2015 9:06PM EDT
Public consultations are currently underway on Quebec's proposed anti-tobacco legislation, Bill 44.
It would, among other restrictions, make it illegal to smoke on patios and terrasses of bars and restaurants.
The Quebec Bar Owners Association say that would be too restrictive, and would not actually have any effect on public health.
The association has conducted its own tests of secondhand smoke levels in outdoor locations, and says its results show no significant trace of tobacco smoke just 150 cm away from a person smoking.
Their research states car exhaust is more harmful to a person's health than secondhand smoke.
Peter Sergakis of the bar owners’ group also claims that smokers spend more money while in bars and restaurants, and says that establishments lost money when smoking was banned indoors in 2006 and have never recovered.
Statistics Canada shows restaurant revenue in Quebec dropped during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, but revenue has since increased.
Sergakis said he expects a loss in business of ten to 15 percent if smoking on patios is banned.
He proposes that instead of banning smoking outright, Quebec should create smoking and non-smoking zones for people eating and drinking outdoors.
"The compromise is going to be open terrasses, not forbidden to smoke on open terrasses," said Sergakis. "We want them to allow us to have small umbrellas and another compromise is going to be that we split terrasses in two, with a one metre and half tampon in the middle so one side is gonna be smokers and the other side will be non-smokers."
Even before the legislation is finalized, bar owners say they will challenge it in court once it becomes law.
Anti-tobacco activists say the proposed law should be even stricter.
The legislation will treat electronic cigarettes as being identical to regular tobacco products.
Six years after it was first proposed, the legislation will institute a smoking ban in vehicles when children are present.
Smoking in a car with children under 16 is currently the law of the land in every other province and Yukon, with Nova Scotia having banned smoking while those under 19 are present more than five years ago.
It will also ban flavoured cigarettes, an idea first proposed at the federal level in 2009.